Mercy Me, It's Only Season Two
The Florida women's team is not the only second-year program
making headlines these days.
Back on Long Island, the newbie Mercy College men's team is also announcing its presence rather loudly in the Division II world.
The Mavericks are 10-1 overall and ranked No. 6 in this week's USILA national poll. They have sandwiched a pair of five-game winning streaks around their only loss of the season, a narrow 9-7 loss at No. 5 ranked Mercyhurst.
And, most importantly, they are still in position to win the championship in the highly-competitive East Coast Conference. The Mavs actually control their own destiny with three games remaining.
While Mercy has already disposed of one ECC giant, defeating New York Tech 16-11 last month, there are several still standing between the second-year upstart and the league title. Following this weekend's open date, the Mavericks must face two-time defending national champion and No. 3 ranked C.W. Post, a tough Seton Hill squad, and then No. 5 Dowling.
A daunting challenge, but don't tell that to Coach Steve Manitta, who has a squad that features 26 freshmen and sophomores on its 32-man roster. Three of the team's top five scorers are freshmen, as is starting goalie T.J. DiCarlo. Manitta sees the pieces of the puzzle coming together.
"I am the happiest for the players," Manitta said recently. "They have bought into what we are trying to do."
Heading into the home stretch, Mercy sits atop the ECC standings after being picked to finish eighth in the preseason coaches poll. The Mavs have already doubled their victory total from last year's inaugural 5-10 campaign, and have exceeded all preseason expectations.
Regardless of whatever happens the rest of the way, Mercy has stamped its second season as one to remember.